UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Was his Bellator 272 finish the “Knockout of the Year”?

Sergio Pettis doesn’t think that’s for him to say, but from a self-reflection perspective, the Bellator bantamweight champion thinks his spinning backfist Friday against Kyoji Horiguchi proved how far he’s come as a mixed martial artist.

“That’s the knockout of my career, so hopefully it’s ‘Knockout of the Year.’ We’ll see, man,” Pettis told reporters, including MMA Junkie, backstage at Mohegan Sun Arena. “There’s been some crazy knockouts, but I think against an opponent like Horiguchi, 29-3, to pull something off like that and see how his body reacted, it’s crazy. It took a long time for him to get out of the fight, which is wild. It’s a wild sport.”

For the first three-and-a-half rounds, Pettis was controlled on the ground and in the standup. Down on the judges’ scorecards, Pettis rallied to overcome adversity and add an all-time highlight to the MMA history books that may rival his brother Anthony’s legendary “Showtime” kick.

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“I’m beat up from that,” Pettis said. “The first one through four rounds, he was getting me. He was getting me frustrated. He got me in some interesting movements, so in-and-out plays. I had to face a lot of adversity tonight to get that finish, and it was perfect. It was beautiful.”

Earlier in his career, things might have gone differently. Pettis might have been unable to mount such a comeback. Pettis departed the UFC and signed with Bellator in 2019 and has not lost since.

“Just believe in yourself,” Pettis said. “That’s one thing I lacked, was belief in myself. I feel like if I would’ve still had that trait tonight, I wouldn’t have gotten that job done in the fourth and fifth round. I was mentally kind of frustrated out there, but I never let it destroy my positivity out there, as well. I knew that I could do something great, and in two rounds I accomplished that within three minutes and 49 seconds of that round. So yeah, man, it was just patience. I’m really good at being patient. It’s 10 years as a professional fighter, and things are starting to kind of come out the way I visualized them.”

Check out Pettis’ full post-fight news conference in the video above.

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